In the fifth of Kantar’s category-specific touchpoint investigations, Caroline Schicketanz explores effective touchpoint management for personal care and beauty brands.

In no other category do aesthetics in advertising play such a big role as personal care and beauty. The images spring readily to mind – the magazine ad of a perfectly made up woman’s face showcasing the latest nuances of a lipstick, or a TV ad telling the romantic story of a majestically dressed couple attracted by the seductive odour of a new perfume. But is this everything you need to create long-lasting consumer impact? Kantar’s research shows it is the right mix of content and context that wins the crown in this particular contest. This is very likely to be even more important since Covid-19 had changed consumers’ behaviour and interactions with brands.

Beauty is the right content in the right context

Among paid media, TV ads have been the well-established beauty queen in this category for a while: the share of spend for TV ads is more than 30% higher than in other categories. This does deliver strong absolute return on all brand metrics, but it comes with a flaw. TV’s contribution has very low cost-efficiency, largely due to excessive frequency. In contrast, magazine ads, perhaps seen as the ‘eternal second’ in this touchpoint beauty contest, deliver strongly cost-effective impact, particularly in building image associations and motivating purchase. Magazines are the perfect platform for high quality static imagery alongside other related content. 

The social media boom of the last decade has obviously made competition in the media beauty contest even fiercer. So far, we have seen mixed performance among personal care and beauty brands: some brands struggle to generate positive impact whereas others – those who are more socially fluent and able to customise their content to different contexts – can see very strong returns.

Within paid digital touchpoints, none work quite as well as they do in other categories, though Facebook and Online Video are more cost effective than Online Display. Personal care brands who joined the recent Facebook boycott will have done so at a real and relevant cost to their media effectiveness, according to research conducted by the Oxford University Saïd Business School, based on Kantar data. In general, personal care brands boycotting Facebook should expect a 9% drop in Saliency and Consideration.

Beyond paid media, earned touchpoints like product experience and recommendations are often underestimated. Kantar Connect research shows that they are even more important in personal care categories where experts' consultation and influencers’ recommendation play a major role, e.g. for skincare, hair colours, or makeup products.

Our recommendations to win the crown? It’s not one individual touchpoint but the right content in the right context across touchpoints. Well-integrated multimedia campaigns that fit different contexts, from TV to print, OOH, digital and point of sale formats, are likely to deliver better returns across all levels of the purchase funnel. Most importantly, they need a consistent look and feel that is combined with consistent messaging.

Let me share with you a beauty category fairy tale that came true. Nivea Cellular Anti-Age was launched in Australia, needing to establish awareness, consideration and trial of the new variant, as well as pushing their skincare credentials and establishing a point of difference. The campaign was developed to have one central “cellular” theme, with consistent key visuals across point of sale, TV, magazines and social content driving synergies. Kantar CrossMedia research showed that TV worked individually to build awareness, but multimedia effects across TV, magazines, point of sale and Facebook were needed to build brand perceptions and boost consideration, with each individual media playing a specific role in the purchase journey. The synergistic approach resulted in the highest return of investment of all Nivea campaigns measured. Quite a success story, right?

Keep it balanced, sensitive and personal

Well-integrated media campaigns can certainly help outperform competitors, but ongoing positive personal experiences with a brand are needed to win the consumers’ attention and hearts in the long run.

Personal care and beauty brands need to balance offline and online experience very carefully. This becomes even more important keeping in mind the changes in behaviour and interaction that the Covid-19 crisis had evoked. More than 30% of today’s consumers are distressed or precarious about the virus according to Kantar’s COVID-19 barometer. They may continue to avoid physical interaction as much as possible until things have changed significantly. Accordingly, brands should showcase their ability to adapt and their future-orientation by keeping up with virtual experiences, like virtual makeup apps, and online tutorials.

At the same time, there are many consumers who will still want to interact with brands in real-life, and many will continue to seek advice and recommendations from sales experts in-store. Even new Direct to Consumer brands will embrace this via pop-up shops and innovative retail approaches. To remain relevant, personal care and beauty brands will need to invest in multimedia marketing that guides consumers seamlessly from online to offline experiences and back.

In a nutshell, the right touchpoint mix in this category needs to be planned and executed as thoroughly as the artful and eye-pleasing visuals which they will likely feature. The right balance of content across a variety of contexts is needed for personal care and beauty brands to win the crown.

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